As already intimated, to this church belongs the interest of having always preserved Its original character as a sanctuary of the Greek Orthodox Communion. This distinction it owes to the fact that the church was given to Christoboulos, the Greek architect of the mosque of Sultan Mehemed, as his private property, to mark the conqueror's satisfaction
FIG. 95.—S. MARY OF THE MONGOLS. THE DOME.
with the builder's work. The grant was confirmed by Bajazet II. in recognition of the services of the nephew of Christoboulos in the construction of the mosque which bears that Sultan's name. Twice, indeed, attempts were subsequently made to deprive the Greek community of the church, once under Selim I. and again under Achmed III. But, like the law of the Medes and Persians, a Sultan's decree altereth not, and by presenting the hatti sheriff of